Afghan security forces kill 3 ISAF troops

Three Coalition soldiers were killed by members of the Afghan security forces in two separate attacks over the past two days. Afghan security forces have now killed 23 ISAF soldiers in 2012.

Two ISAF soldiers, who are British, according to Pajhwok, were killed and two more were wounded in an attack today by members of the Afghan Uniformed Police in Helmand province. The International Security Assistance Force confirmed the attack, but would not say if the attackers were Afghan policemen.

“ISAF confirms that two individuals wearing Afghan Police uniforms turned their weapons against coalition service members in southern Afghanistan today, killing two service members,” ISAF stated in a press release. ISAF said that one of the attackers was killed and another escaped.

Today’s attack was preceded by another yesterday, in which an Afghan soldier killed a US soldier and wounded two others in Kunar province, according to The Associated Press.

No motive has been given for either of the attacks. ISAF has said that the two attacks are under investigation.

The Taliban claimed credit for yesterday’s attack, in a statement released on their propaganda website, Voice of jihad. The Taliban claimed that 12 US troops were killed and 12 more were wounded, and that the Afghan soldier “joined [the] Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate” after escaping. The Taliban routinely exaggerate the effects of their attacks. Today’s Taliban propaganda did not mention the Helmand attack that killed two British soldiers.

A rise in green-on-blue attacks in 2012

The green-on-blue attacks, in which a member of the Afghan security forces kills a Coalition soldier, have skyrocketed this year. Afghan security forces personnel have now killed 23 ISAF soldiers since the beginning of the year.

Afghan security personnel are now estimated to have killed 85 ISAF soldiers since May 2007. Twenty-three of the 85 ISAF soldiers, or more than 25 percent, have been killed this year. These attacks have taken place in all areas in Afghanistan, not just in the south and east.

ISAF has not disclosed the number of incidents in which ISAF soldiers were wounded by ANSF personnel, or the attacks on ISAF personnel that did not result in casualties. ISAF told The Long War Journal in March that “these statistics … [are ] … classified.”

“[A]ttacks by ANSF on Coalition Forces…either resulting in non-injury, injury or death….these stats as a whole (the total # attacks) are what is classified and not releasable,” Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, ISAF’s Press Desk Chief, told The Long War Journal. Cummings said that ISAF is “looking to declassify this number.” Nearly two months later, the data remains classified.

Inquiries as to why the overall statistic is classified went unanswered.

The rise in attacks against ISAF troops by Afghan personnel takes place as ISAF is seeking to accelerate the transition of security responsibility to Afghan forces. The plan calls for an increase in the number of ISAF trainers as well as more partnering of ISAF and Afghan units, and will heighten Coalition troops’ exposure to green-on-blue attacks. The US military has become so concerned with the green-on-blue attacks that it has ordered units to designate “guardian angels” in each unit whose job is to provide security for troops working with Afghans.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • mike merlo says:

    I wonder if there is a possible connection between the reorientation in the ‘prosecution’ of Night Raids and the spike in Green On Blue incidents?

  • Niels Brinch says:

    I have learned that according to intelligence officials 68 % of the green on blue attacks are related to personal grievances and not related to Taliban – originating in a very deep gap between the two cultures.

  • Devin Leonard says:

    I find this “green on blue” stuff perplexing. When I served my last two tours in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion of the Marine Corps MSOR, we worked with Afghan Commandos. We had some arguments with them about various things but no one ever reached for a rifle. When we worked with the SEALs or the British SBS the Afghans had disagreements with them, but same thing, everyone was cool after a while and we were all friends again. We never lost one Spec Ops Marine, SEAL or SBS member to Afghan fire when I was “in country”, and we never had to kill any Afghan friendlies. So where all this stuff is coming from all of a sudden is new to me.
    Roggio is right though, the Military needs to be more upfront with the American people as to what is really going on here. My only comfort is that we are waxing the Afghans that are killing our soldiers in 90% of the incidents.


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